Thursday, May 26, 2005
Souvenirs: Belli e Brutti
These aren't souvenirs as you'd normally think of them. I just made them tonight, but I made them with Maria Grammatico's recipe. As you may recall, we visited her pasticceria while in Erice. I happen to have a copy of the book she coauthored with Mary Taylor Simeti, Bitter Almonds, which is part autobiography, part cookbook. It appears to include recipes for just about every confection offered in the pasticceria, including the ones we tried during our visit.
Our favorites were the Belli e Brutti, which were translated as "Beauty-Unsightly" at the Pasticceria Grammatico, but as "Good and Uglies" in the book. Ugly though they may be, mine did not turn out as they should. They should have maintained their shape, but instead they spread into very flat cookies. They taste much as I remember the one I ate in Erice - very sweet, lots of almond flavor, and a little lemon.
I cheated a little since I was doing this on a weeknight. I didn't grind my own almonds. Instead I purchased a bag of almond meal. It's possible this was partly responsible for my misshapen uglies, but I'm more inclined to think it has something to do with egg size (which is not specified in the recipe) or the leavening. In any case, the almond meal probably doesn't provide the same almond flavor that freshly ground almonds would, but it made these cookies super easy.
I confess I haven't read this book yet, though it was purchased long before our trip, but I look forward to reading it soon!